Neighbourhood champion Monir El Moudden calls for Lambeth residents to volunteer to help save local street trees and explains how to identify a struggling tree
Summer 2022 has been the driest summer in England since 1935. The Met Office expects to see temperatures reach up to 37C (99F), just weeks after we saw record breaking temperatures exceed 40C (104F).
This has led to Lambeth’s trees going short of water and the unfortunate deaths of street trees in recent weeks.
Falling trees can cause deaths, accidents, property damage, and are a disaster for our ecosystem.
We may think of nature as being unconnected to our urban spaces, but trees have always been an essential part of successfully cities.
Trees act like a natural sponge, absorbing rainwater run-off before releasing it back into the atmosphere.
The webs of their roots protect against mud slides while allowing soil to retain water and filter out toxins.
Roots help prevent floods while reducing the need for storm drains and water treatment plants.
Their leaves purify the air by trapping carbon and other pollutants, making them essential in the fight against climate change.
Trees are not just crucial to the health of the borough’s infrastructure. They play a vital role in the health of its citizens as well.
Without healthy trees in Lambeth to provide shade, buildings absorb more solar radiation during summer heatwaves.
This contributes towards the city’s dangerously poor air quality, which can cause bronchitis and diminished lung function.
Trees can also improve mental health. Research indicates that the presence of green foliage increases attention spans and decreases stress levels.
Over the last few weeks, a dozen residents from Oval Quarter have volunteered to help local trees, bringing out their watering cans, buckets, and even bottles to water our street trees.
The response from the local community has been tremendous and really shows how much people care about the environment, and the importance of keeping our trees healthy.
It’s fantastic to be part of a team that can make a big difference to living in a happier and greener place for everyone to enjoy.
Environmental services at Lambeth council have been very helpful, offering volunteers a supply of watering cans and training in basic tree inspection and care.
The time to get involved in the street tree challenge is now!
Knowing how to spot a sick or dying tree can help avoid a tree catastrophe.
We encourage Lambeth residents to identify and help save a sick or dying tree and to spare a moment to use a watering can, a bucket, or even a bottle to water a street tree in their local community.
We encourage residents to look out for five signs a tree needs watering which we should not ignore:
Sticks everywhere on the ground. When a tree sheds twigs all the time, it’s an unhealthy sign. A tree that’s in good shape will have flexible branches and twigs, which tend not to break off.
Bark is falling off. If a tree’s bark is flaking and peeling, it is not receiving enough nutrients. You may be able to save the tree by watering the bare spot and taping the tree back until it reattaches.
A tree is leaning. If a tree suddenly starts to keel over, the roots may be dying or damaged.
No leaves or lots of crunchy brown leaves. Dead leaves are a sure sign that something is obstructing the flow of nutrients on the inside of the tree.
Brittle branches. If a tree’s branches break easily and you notice dead branches littering the ground after windy weather, you should have your tree’s safety evaluated by the Lambeth tree team ASAP!
So now we know just how incredible trees are, it’s time to appreciate them for their ability to make us healthy.
Lambeth has 19,000 street trees and more than 15,000 trees in its parks.
If you think that a council-owned tree needs urgent maintenance or have any other concerns, please contact Lambeth tree team on 020 7926 3542.